Former Central Coast Mariners and Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has been sensationally sacked by his new J-League club Vegalta Sendai after a winless start to of the season, losing four of their first six games.
Arnold joined the Japanese side at the end of last year when he was lured away from the Mariners mid-season to take on the new challenge.
He tried to rebuild the side in the off-season, bringing in former Olyroo Danny Vukovic as keeper and Mariners playmaker Michael McGlinchey on loan.
The first signs of distrust in him at board level came when Arnold managed to persuade Scottish Premier League side Celtic to loan him Socceroo hotshot Tom Rogic - only for the Sendai board to veto the deal at the last moment.
Since then Arnold has struggled to get points on the field as he tried to change their playing style and recreate the success he enjoyed with the Mariners, winning the Premiership and Championship during his time with the club. In the first six games of the season, his side only scored two goals, drew twice and lost four times.
In the wake of a second 4-0 loss on Sunday - and a serious injury to one of his key players - the board called time on his J-League stint and released him "by mutual consent".
Arnold today insisted he had left of his own accord after being unable to agree on a direction for the club.
“I told the President directly that I felt as if I was coaching someone else’s team and in the end I have my standards to uphold,” Arnold told SBS. “I left the meeting for them to discuss the direction of the club and they said they needed to consider the sponsors and supporters and I understand that.
“In the end it was genuinely a decision that we arrived at together; things weren’t working with the changes we’d liked to have made and we agreed to part ways."
However it looks likely he would find it easy to return to the A-League where he proved to be one of the elite coaches.
Perth Glory may be at the head of the queue for him to replace Kenny Lowe in the hotseat for next season after another disappointing year in the west, and Arnold could be seen as the ideal man to regenerate the side and return them to their heyday again.
However Sydney were keen to sign up Arnie two years ago, only to miss out in a row about his support staff which saw Arnold stay at the Mariners instead. With Frank Farina under pressure and unpopular with fans, they may again target the former Socceroos striker.
Newcastle Jets may also be interested, despite the intense local rivalry with the Mariners. Clayton Zane landed the Jets coaching role midseason to replace Gary Van Egmond and has had mixed results, with a spot in the finals going down to the last match of the season.
But Arnold may choose to look overseas again in search of a new challenge.